Picky Eating

A couple of people have come forward to say that they, like me, are picky eaters. While I’m certainly not the worst there is, I do have a lot of problems eating vegetables, because they taste mostly bitter to me, and I just plain don’t want them. I used to be a carb addict, but THAT won’t work any more! And I don’t eat much meat, either – I tend to prefer dairy foods.

So I’m wondering how you cope with food preferences and the vagaries of eating and keeping your BGs under control.

To tell the truth I was surprised when I realised how much carb I and others ate. Masses of it, and I really miss some of it. Veggies work better with a dressing, a good quality vinaigrette on salad vegetables works wonders, you can add a teeny bit of honey or sugar substitute to your dressing when you shake it up in the jar. If you really hate veggies you could turn them into soups, easier to eat and you can top them with a little cream for flavour. I don’t eat much meat, mainly because chicken is one of my least favourite meats, it needs so much done to it to tart it up and since I can’t eat curry without rice nor risottos then the whole chicken thing is a problem.
I am having problems with things tasting sour since I was dx. I have to have sugar on things like yogurt, fruit, although I don’t eat much of that any more. But I used to love grapes and stone fruit, now I have to sweeten them to even get them down without shuddering. This last week I have had major problems with food, have not felt hungry and do not want to eat what I have at home to eat. I want a nice woodfired seafood pizza, I want fish and chips, I do not want chicken salad or vegetables and chicken. A piece of grilled salmon will help me sometimes over this negativity.

My situation is the opposite. I love vegetables & think they’re beautiful. I like the different colors & textures. I love the produce section & farmer’s markets. I don’t like red meat & only recently could eat chicken. I was a weird kid who ate my veggies & pushed the protein around the plate. I was a vegetarian for over 30 years before diabetes arrived. No way I could continue my former eating habits & have BG control.

Took effort to eat meat. I started with fish & shellfish. I still can’t look at a steak on my plate. I hide red meat in stews & soups, or eat it in forms that are well cooked like brisket, ribs, osso bucco. Any beef has to be cooked with lots of wine & herbs .

I find it interesting that you find these foods bitter. You are not the only one, there is some controversy as these bitter compounds are removed from foods and criticisms about the role of these compounds in nutrition. While I will basically eat anything (and I mean anything), my son is quite picky. One thing that he finds tolerable is to make foods that are casseroles where the individual fllavors are mixed and muted. He will eat brocolli with cheese, but would never touch brocolli. He will eat a chicken pot pie with all kinds of veggies including lima beans, but he would never touch any of those veggies individually. And what about the crock pot? The crock pot will mute and dull any of those strong flavors.

I’m a pretty picky eater but, other than absolutely no seafood, it’s usually specific things: no chick peas, no eggs on their own, no olives, no corned beef or cooked cabbage, etc etc. The only thing I really wish I liked was seafood because I’d have more protein options for dinner. But now that they make turkey keilbasa and things like that there is at least more variety for week night dinners. I’ll cook more on weekends but even there I have a pretty limited repertoire.

I like vegetables as does my husband but we like different ones. For example, I think brussel sprouts are scary things and he feels similarly about things like kale. But rather than always having to make different vegetables I discovered different ways to cook them. I have found dlife.com to be a good source for vegetable recipes. Here is a link to the first kale recipe that my husband LOVED and now I have a couple of other ways to cook kale he likes: http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/diabetic-recipes/Braised-Kale/r8364.htm But for the record, I still hate brussel sprouts.

Before dx, there was a long list of things I didn’t eat, just because I didn’t like the taste. Desserts and processed sweet carbs actually headed the list! But there was also other stuff like chicken breast, green peppers, peas and cauliflower.

Post-dx, I realized that I would have to re-evaluate my feelings towards some foods. Mainly the veg. I told myself I would try everything once with an open mind.

(Except green peppers - traumatized by being forced to eat them by my mum when I was little. I will not touch them on pain of death. However, I love all other colours of peppers.)

I realized that no matter what, I would never like peas or brussels sprouts. On cauliflower, I resisted for a long time, again because of having been forced to eat it when I was little. But after a disastrous attempt at low-carb rice porridge (made with flax. Please don’t try it yourself, it is vile and disgusting), I reluctantly decided to try cauliflower rice. The smell of the grated cauliflower in the microwave made me feel ill. But when nuked almost to oblivion, then disguised with a garlic-shallot flavouring, the cauliflower rice tasted… not so disgusting. In fact, not disgusting at all. Best of all, it had no impact on my BG. I realized that nothing tastes as good as staying under 140 post-prandial. I am now a convert!

I will not eat bananas under any circumstances. I am somewhat finicky about the consistency of sliced tomatoes on sandwiches and both the consistency and the size of onions, which I prefer to be chopped finely. Other than that, I will eat just about everything.

I am a very, very picky eater. I tend to eat the same things over & over again every day. I love veggies but with gastroparesis, I can’t eat them very often. I am like BSC’s son though with some stuff – I hate peas and won’t eat them if they are on a plate by themselves, but I will eat them if they are in stuff.

I had to laugh at Lila’s statement about being traumatized by her mother over green peppers (Lila, I am not laughing at you, I am laughing with you). When I was in 2nd grade, my mother made me an egg salad sandwich for lunch. Whatever sandwich my brother was having for lunch had ketchup on and she accidentally put ketchup on my sandwich. I had a very mean teacher that made us eat everything that what was in our lunch. I couldn’t eat it so threw the bag in the trash with the sandwich in. She went thru the trash and found my sandwich – I had to sit there until I ate it. It took forever and the thought of it being in the garbage was worse than the ketchup. I was well into adulthood before I could ever eat an egg salad sandwich again!

Kelly - I too can laugh about it now but back then it was pretty serious. I’m telling ya, my mother makes Muammar Gaddafi look like a pussycat. She forced me to eat green peppers, peas, chicken breast and cauliflower, because they were ‘healthy’ and ‘good for you’. I still don’t eat any of those things, with the exception of cauliflower now. My mother never forced broccoli on me because where I grew up, broccoli was relatively expensive so it was a treat. Funny how that resulted in me loving broccoli. I can eat a big plate of it as a substitute for starch.

My mother is such a control freak. Funny enough, she is a teacher. And Kelly let me tell you, she is the type of teacher who would have gone through the trash and forced you to eat the sandwich. I’m sure she wasn’t your teacher though, as she has always taught 9th/10th grade.

If you would like a few more laughs, I can share with you that food was not the only way in which my mother traumatized me. She forced me to have very short hair from age 7 to 16. One of my diabetes-related problems is acanthosis nigricans - hyperpigmentation which looks like a grimy neck. Of course, this meant the other kids got a clear view of this freakiness and hence could accuse me of not cleaning myself properly. Gee, thanks mom. My mother also believes that only prostitutes wear spaghetti-strap tops, and that any underwear that is not flesh-coloured is slutty. As a result of this, from the day I was able to buy my own clothes with my own money, I have delighted in wearing spaghetti-strap tops with funky underwear in all colours of the rainbow except nude/beige/tan. Preferably in front of my mother of course!

Ugh I eat lot’s of veggies. Sorry but that mainly what I want exp around gardining season. Love freash veggies out of the garden. I really don’t care much for the store bought kind though. Meat? That’s my hubby’s area I really don’ like that either. I guess I just learned how to eat that growing up on a farm and all. Yes I’m VERY picky

I used to think my mother was bad until I started reading about other people’s mothers! She never forced us to eat anything. One time my father decided we all had to eat spinach and we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we ate all of it. My mother hid it & said we ate it!

I can see why you would like broccoli now since that wasn’t forced on you. I think I would have a hard time forgiving her if she forced me to wear my hair short when I had a problem like that (she did force me to have short hair but I didn’t need to cover up anything). I would be wearing spaghetti straps & fancy, colored undies also!

I like to think Im a decent cook. That requires me to like only the best tasting items (that means Im picky). =^)

Im big on texture, dont like a lot of fruit because its too mushy. Hard crunchy fruits, nuts, etc. are what I like. For veggies, Ive never been a real huge fan. Eating low carb has actually gotten me to eat more veggies than ever before. Or so I thought… My wife, the sneak that she is, has been steaming zucchini, mashing it and putting it into our food for the last decade. Little did the kids or I know. Never even tasted it.

Cauliflower can smell terrible, but once boiled, it can take on any taste you can think of. I use it for faux mashes potatoes, spanish rice, white rice, etc. Also, everything has to be aldente otherwise mushy and bitter becomes the worst.

As for food management, I have been low carbing for about 7 months now and have made everything from LC pizza and calzones to LC Thanksgiving stuffing. I take a lot of food recipes that I like (great one is Betty Crockers big red cir. 1960s) and adjust them to be low carb. I went over to my local restaurant supply store the other day and picked up some Belgium blocks of chocolate and coacoa butter, went home and made LC chocolate chips. I get pitas and flatbread from Josephs middle eastern co. (via netrition.com) and use those for a lot. They work for pizza dough, burger buns, sandwiches, etc. and are 7 carbs a pita to boot! There is a ton I can cook as well with LC flours.

About the hardest time I have is with eating out. Its hard to have a meal high in fat and low in protein / carbs, when the world geared towards high carb, low fat. Ive found my hot spots though.

I used to feel the same way - absolutely no brussel sprouts or cauliflower. We were are some friends house for dinner last year and they were grilling meat and mixed cauliflower and brussel sprouts - I had no choice but to eat them. And surprise of all surprises…I loved them! I have been more adventurous in trying new veggies (especially winter veggies like parsnips, jerusalem artichokes, rutabagas, etc). I really love them roasted (high temp until they are brown and crispy on the edges). Sounds silly, but it carmelizes the sugars in the veggies and sweetens them. So good!

Natalie, the bitterness might be because you are a supertaster, i.e., you have particularly refined and sophisticated tastebuds that pick up on the slight bitterness of some foods. People whose tastebuds aren’t so sensitive don’t get the bitterness because they literally do not!

Does it help to remove the skin from some veg like eggplant and zucchini? I find that cuts down any potential bitter taste. Julienned zucchini is a fab low-carb substitute for pasta. Goes well with just about any pasta sauce.

No corned beef or cooked cabbage?! Whatever will you eat on St. Patrick’s day?!


Some people taste things differently though; just a weird taste-bud thing. For example, raw broccoli is bitter to me and I hate it. I refuse to eat it. But I LOVE cooked/steamed broccoli and it doesn’t taste bitter to me then.

I’m a consistency person too. I can’t do onions or sliced tomatoes either. Mushrooms are also not so friendly, consistency-wise.

I can’t help with texture, but here are a few ideas to mask the flavor…

cheese on broccoli,

mash your cauliflower with laughing cow cheese (and tell yourself it’s mashed potatoes)

stir fry I eat stir fry at least once a week since I started trying to eat low carb.
Peanut butter or laughing cow cheese on celery has become my “alternate to popcorn” crunchy thing I eat during a movie. No, it isn’t the same, but when I need to crunch on something, it curves my craving.

To me the “fresh” broccoli I get from the grocery store is very bitter. I am quite fond of frozen broccoli, though. I always thought it was because the broccoli in the stores is older. I don’t know what difference is. Do not overcook your broccoli, though, or it becomes bitter.